Work Flow Process Layout

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Service Work Flow2_ACBPierre

Industry: Government – City Municipality

Project Overview
A city government office is charged with the task of streamlining their Vendor certification process.  This project was initiated as the result of a recent independent quality control audit where a cause and effect relationship was shown to exist between office layout and the processing of certification applications and renewals.  A Business Process Engineer is needed to measure work flow patterns and cycle time in addition to re-designing the office layout and monitoring its effectiveness.


Process Work Scope
My work began with visiting the office on a Tuesday – its busiest day of the week.  The intent was to record traffic flow through the office’s lobby while paying particular attention to Vendor foot traffic.  Unbeknownst to the visiting Vendors, I recorded the amount of time from each person’s office arrival to office departure taking into account deviations such as special requests.  After collecting enough data to calculate tighter statistical population and sample figures, I shifted my observations to the Executive Assistant’s workstation, Na.  I wrote a rudimentary list of her daily tasks and grouped them according to Vendor certification processing, receptionist and general office support duties.  After a week of observations, I determined the overall cycle time, C, as well as the total sum of task times, T.

Next, I plotted each task onto a precedence graph to determine the optimal sequencing of tasks in order to maximize productivity.  My initial calculation, based on the current workstation’s layout, showed an Efficiency of 63% indicating 27% idle time or room for improvement.  Using the assembly line balancing technique (traditionally used for production layout), I computed additional calculations based on the precedence graph to find the optimal layout for maximum Efficiency.  I also took into account the face-to-face nature of the Executive Assistant’s role and the effect it could have on the final layout.  Once I drew a final design and received approval, the workstation’s furniture, fixtures and equipment were re-arranged accordingly.


The new office layout was tested for a two week period to determine its effect on Vendor certification processing cycle time, traffic flow, data movement and clutter prevention.  Surveys were issued to each Vendor prior to exiting the office for a comparative analysis to prior experiences.  Following the testing period, 95% of the Vendors reported an improved customer experience and Efficiency was re-calculated at 90%.  I made additional suggestions for streamlining the workflow even more in order to get Efficiency as close to 97% as possible.

One recommendation included the use of Microsoft Outlook’s Rules feature to automate identification of Vendor applications sent via email which reduces the time associated with task 4 (see diagram above).  Another recommendation was to reduce the time associated with application intake tasks (tasks 1, 2 and 4) by treating as a batch operation (specified times of day to handle incoming information) as opposed to continuous (handling as information arrives).


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